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hamman01

Deck rebuild with injury

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hamman01

I started to restore the 48" M deck for my Homelite T-16 H this May. I tore it down and got all the new bearings, washers to stack the quills right and got the pulleys off the quills with only two pulley casualties. While I was cleaning the deck with a 4" angle grinder with a knotted wire wheel I injured my left index finger. MY BAD, was repositioning my hands on the grinder to finish up and I didn't pull it away from the deck far enough and it caught and my finger got pulled thru the grinder between the guard and wheel. It removed most of the finger nail and put a gouge in the inside of the finger next to the nail. Beings that I hadn't had a tetnus shot in 12 years we decided to go to the Emergency Room and have the shot and get it dresses. They cleaned the injury and dressed it with a tube type pressure bandage. They told it was going to hurt so just use tylenol and remove the bandage in four days and see my Dr. if there was any problems. The first night I got no sleep due to the pain being so great. Called the ER and they said return if the pain was to great. It is 60 miles away and I figured I would ride it out. Next night 1 hour of sleep. Fast forward to day 4. I removed the bandage after my wife had seen our Dr. (use the same Dr.) and it was about the size of the bone and black from the second knuckle to the tip. I went to the Dr. and she refered me to the wound care nurse at the hospital. Needless to say for nearly 4 weeks we drove back and forth to the hospital every day. SInce then it has been 2 - 3 days a week for wound care and physical therapy. it has no real feeling in the finger to the tip and it had lost all of the skin to the meat and bone. Skin is growing back and has completely covered now. I have about 25% function of the finger at this point. I post this only to remind people of being safe when using power tools. I don't mean to preach or at all say I am an expert. I am just going from a bad experience. If I could help one person keep from doing the same thig it would be worth it to post this here. The hospital is picking up all the costs of treatment and paying mileage to and from the hospital for treatment visits. They admit that there was an omission in the ER discharge instruction about to much pain and removing the bandage if it was to painful. The Nurse and Physical Therapist have been great in treating this. Now the hard part begins with several trips for PT and the pain that is associated with it. I have done some work on the deck but it is minimal. I still can't use power tools or get the finger dirty or cause any harm to it that would slow the growth of the skin, nerves, tendons etc.. If this is in the wrong place feel free to move it or delete it. I just wanted to share this experience that if I had to do over again would do so in a very different way. thanks. Stay safe and enjoy the hobby we all enjoy. Roger.

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Rick3410

Quite a story, Roger. Good advice for all of us as well. Working on machinery is not child's play and requires complete focus. Sometimes we just work away while thinking about something else. Hope you feel better and get back to that restoration soon. You've earned your wings on this project now and you'll have to see it through to completion. Please keep us updated.

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laytonlight

Roger, thanks for the reminder! From start to finish, that sounds like it was awful! I always wear leather gloves when using most power tools. (And safety glasses and a respirator especially with the grinder!)

In the future, you might try taking the guard off the grinder and using a wire cup brush instead. I found that to be easier to control and it's generally smaller in diameter so it's easier to get to all parts of the deck.

Bump this thread with updates. Hope it works out Ok without any surgery. I know most of us have had those occasions where something went wrong and we thought, "Hmm, that could have really been bad!" If you take away automobile accidents, most accidental deaths occur in the home, so in the words of the sergeant from Hill Street Blues, (For those old enough to remember.) "Let's be careful out there."

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Aldon

I'm glad to hear the finger will be saved. It is so easy to get hurt, and so easy to ignore the safety precautions. Alice, my b110, gets some blood off of me nearly every time I work on her. Usually when a wrench slips. I've been a believer in steel toed boots ever since a bobcat ran my feet over in an accident that broke my arm. Maybe some steel fingered gloves would help us out:)

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Dan123

Roger, I wish you the very best in your recovery and may it be as speedy as possible. It seems like the older I get the slower I get and the slower the healing process is. Take care!

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dhardin

I have had many extensive surgeries and pain dose not bother me overall. But finger injuries for some reason real bother me. I have smashed all but one of my 10 fingers. The pain and continues discomfort and limits in using my hands bothers me a lot.

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quantico

safety is no joke. Hope you get back to better soon. It takes far less time to do things safe compared to getting medical treatment. People forget how bad mistakes hurt between injuries.

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hamman01

It's those three seconds you would just love to go back in time and say " can I please do that over" , problem is there never is a do over. I'm sure that had I had my heavy gloves on it probably wouldn't of been so bad to start with. The result of the hospital visit is the reason this has lasted so long and has been so painful and concerning. I'm most usually the overly cautious person when doing something. Thanks for the well wishes and advice. I will let you all know how things go later on this week after seein the Physical Therapist. Roger.

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Kenh

I feel your pain... I have Radio Control Airplanes. A year ago last may i stuck my hand in a 11 inch diameter propeller running full speed, about 12,000 RPM. I lost about 1/4 inch of the tip of my index finger, cut the tendon that straitens the finger, messed up the fingernail bed and had lacerations on four of the five fingers of that hand. It took two surgeries to fix the tendon and while my finger does work it is stiff and numb. I do not have full function, but it is good enough to stay out of the way of things.

Yes guys "Keep your fingers out of things that go round and round".

Best of luck getting back in shape. Do what the Doc says and expect a lot of pain at first with the PT. Put in the effort and you will be rewarded. It will take quite a bit of time though.

Good Luck!

Ken

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John_in_Oxford

Post a picture of the wound! Man, this forum needs a gory wound thread!

I've got a pic or two from when my neighbor spun the atarter on a full size AC while my hand was in the crankcase - gnarly!!!

Physical Therapy - phewey - thats for people with health insurance LOLOLOL

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hamman01

I would post a picturs but I have problems trying to post them. I've tried to before but it doesn't work. I went to the PT today and he worked me over good. I went there with a tender skin and no visible blod and came away with what looks like blisters under the skin from the wraping and bending / compression he used. It is tender as all getout now. hard to type with a finger out of comission. I will try it again to post a picture. Roger.

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PGL

Keep up the improvements. Too bad the hospital made things worse than they would have been with proper treatment up front. Did they make you sign a waiver not to sue before they would continue the free subsequent treatment to restore as well as possible?

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RUMBLEFISH

Plus one on the leather gloves. I was using a 4 inch wire wheel with cleaning up a 48 deck. I had on cloth gloves and the wire wheel grabbed them and pulled right into the side of my hand. I was very lucky the motor stopped dead but I did have a nasty ripped up gash for a few weeks. Hope all turns out well for you as time goes on and thanks for sharing your story.

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MrSteele

My choice of cleaning tool makes me wear earplugs, but I stopped worrying about things grabbing my fingers, or throwing wires into my legs, or throwing trash all over the shop, creating a lot of dust, etc. After I dug the last of the wires out of my leg, I decided there had to be a better way. I wear shorts while tinkering in the warm months, so the wires were a definite problem for me.

Safety with power tools is something most of us ignore, until we are on the way to the ER, or are doing minor surgery on ourselves with a pseudo clean pocket knife!

I purchased a needle scaler from Harbor Freight for another project I was doing several years ago. I tried it on the underside of a deck for the heck of it. Now, that scaler is my cleaning tool of choice, and it gets into places that a wire brush won't even get close to. It makes a H*** of a racket, is why the earplugs, but you can get to bare metal rather quickly, or simply clean off the dried grass under the deck. Most folks don't have a compressor that will hold it up long enough to use it, but, even short use, then wait for the compressor to build back up, does a decent job, more safely, than a grinder or cup brush on a grinder. My 2 cents worth

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